Many Christians don’t realize the influence the world has on them. The Bible speaks about influence. It talks about listening to Jesus’ voice (John 10). Our senses pick up everything the world has to offer.
We need to be more intentional about the influences in our lives. Paying attention to what we listen to, watch, and say will help us be better witnesses of Christ. Christians must influence the world rather than the world influence Christians.
Jesus calls us to be in the world but not of it. The Bible commands us to be separate from the wickedness in the world and come out from among them. So how do we deal with the influences in our lives? Let’s take stock of some of the most important gateways temptation and the world can get into our system.
See No Evil
Our eyes take in everything around us. Sometimes we intentionally choose what we watch and see. But other times we have no warning of what we will see. I have been surprised by some of the images my eyes have taken in, not by choice.
We need to approach what we watch and see with a game plan. To avoid temptations such as lust and violence, have your game plan in place in advance. This will take care of most temptations. And there is a strategy for surprises.
The Bible talks about what we watch and see. Job made a covenant with his eyes that he wouldn’t lust after women (Job 31:1). Jesus speaks against lust in his Sermon on the Mound (Matthew 5:27-30).
But it is not just lust that’s an issue with our eyes. We are entertained in the 21st century with TV shows, movies, pornography, and other forms of entertainment. Ask yourself if your pastor and other people at church would approve of your Netflix, Hulu, and other media accounts.
Any of us might say, “That’s not in their business.” But if you would be embarrassed by what they saw on these media accounts, this might be a red flag for you. Do Jesus and the Holy Spirit approve? Sometimes we don’t even think about the things we watch and how they can affect our relationship with God.
These things also affect our witness in our communities. When people see our entertainment choices, and they know enough about Christians and the Bible to know we aren’t following biblical principles and commands, they won’t listen to what we had to say about our testimony of Jesus.
It’s hard to argue Jesus has changed your life if you are doing things the Bible clearly prohibits or at least once about. This is where your plan of attack comes in. Take a serious look at all of your entertainment choices and their impact on your life with Christ.
When something goes against biblical teaching, put it on the bad list. Be careful not to view these materials. Have a plan to avoid watching, seeing, or viewing anything the Holy Spirit convicts you of.
What about surprises? There’s a two-pronged attack against surprise temptations you can see. Since you can’t plan for the surprises, God gave you two of the best defenses against them. First, close your eyes. God gave eyelids to protect us from surprise attacks of temptation.
The second offense against surprise temptations we view is the neck. Turn your head away from the temptations. Use both of them to prevent surprises. Have your plan in place and follow it to the letter. Jesus’ high standards demand we live a life of holiness and don’t use our eyes to sin against God.
Hear No Evil
What we hear matters to God. We don’t usually think about it that way, but the music we listen to and the conversations we entertain need to be holy before the Lord. The music we listen to may be the easiest gateway for the world to creep in.
I find that I enjoy the beats to certain songs and genres of music. But I don’t always listen to the words. Then I find myself humming the music. The next step is singing the lyrics without even realizing it. These are one of the sneaky ways the world gets into our system.
When we like a certain song or a genre of music, we must take the lyrics into account. They can get into your heart before you know it. Monitor the words of songs you listen to. Do they glorify Christ. Or do they glorify a worldly lifestyle?
We can be vulnerable to entertaining gossip. It’s so easy to pray for someone and ask for information you don’t need to pray for them. Gossip creeps in when Christians seek more information about the person they are praying for.
This isn’t a problem until we seek the information to share with others instead of pray for that person and situation. Make sure to find a mentor who doesn’t air your dirty laundry and sins you confess to them in private. In the genuine desire to have more information to pray more specifically for persons issues, we may turn seeking answers into gossip.
Monitor the music you listen to, and the conversations you hold. When you pray for others, do you seek information to pray more effectively or to pry into their lives and expose their weaknesses in the company of others?
Keep an eye on things you listen to. Do they influence you in a worldly way? Read more of your Bible and listen to Christian music to combat these dangerous lyrics and conversations. The more you intake the Word of God and Christian resources, the better your inner person will be. You are focusing on the things of God rather than the things of this world.
Speak No Evil
I have the hardest time controlling my tongue. Sometimes I say things to be funny and realize after they come out of my mouth that they aren’t funny. We get ourselves in a lot of trouble with our tongues.
James is one of the strongest advocates for silence. He talks about the tongue in James 3 and James 1:19, and he speaks about quarrels that start with the way we talk. Once the words we speak are out there in the air, and in the ears of others, there’s nothing we can do to erase them.
We can apologize afterward for what we said, but we can’t take it back. It’s better for us to learn to hold our tongue and think about what we speak before we blurt it out. I used to have a terrible habit of murmuring under my breath. This was never a good thing. I must be careful to speak God’s words and truths.
Mothers always say, “If you can’t say that about that person, don’t say anything at all.” This is good and godly advice. Since we can’t take back the words we speak, we must make sure we speak blessings instead of persons, the promises of God to others.
Many proverbs say it’s better to not speak at all. The problem with this is there’s no way to address the world if we lock ourselves away and keep our mouth shut. How can we preach the gospel and proclaim it before others if what we say hurts others and goes against his commands?
It’s better for us to carefully evaluate what we say before you say it. God gives us guidelines for God the speech that honors and glorifies him. We must demonstrate the love of Christ in our speech. Let every word we say be pleasing to Jesus.
One of the worst areas for me is joking. I tend to say something I think is funny. I don’t get the reaction I expected. We shouldn’t use joking and comedy to cover the true thoughts and intentions of our hearts. People realize what we truly think when we joke around.
We must be careful not to spread’s awesome or speak in the angriest of terms. Quarrels are a form of violence. What we say about others matters very much to God. He wants us to speak life and blessing into people’s lives.
So how can we combat we could speech? Speak the Word of God on a regular basis. Proclaim the promises and blessings of the Scriptures. Pray the Scriptures. What we say with our mouth betrays the thoughts and intentions of our hearts (Matthew 12:34). It’s best to have a clean heart and mind before we speak.
So let us be careful with our speech. The tongue is a sharp weapon. We cannot speak evil things and then godly things. Let us use our words and our speech to glorify God and build others up.
We can use our senses to glorify God. But they are also open gateways if we don’t carefully monitor them. We must influence the world with godliness. Instead of allowing the world to speak into our hearts, we must examine what parts of worldliness get into our hearts.
Our monitoring and evaluating of our lives must not become legalistic. When I was in Bible College, we were not allowed to watch R-rated movies. This was around the time the Passion of the Christ came out.
Our professors asked us about the movie and what we thought about it. But we weren’t technically allowed to watch it. It was an R-rated movie that pertained to Christianity. Instead of setting legalistic boundaries, we need to evaluate what we take in and have the maturity to stop watching, listening, and speaking it if it doesn’t glorify God.
Leave a comment and describe how you monitor what you watch, listen to, and to speak. We must use our senses to glorify God in everything we do.